When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Peter must have been wondering about Jesus' discernment at this point. Peter felt like a failure, having denied Jesus, abandoning him to face a terrible death without his best friend. He must have wondered how Jesus had been so wrong about him. Jesus called him “The Rock” yet he had crumbled so quickly, even after Jesus had warned him.
Now Peter was sitting across from Jesus on the beach, eating a breakfast Jesus had prepared for them, listening to Jesus commanding him to go out and take care of a tender new church during a very emotional and dangerous time. How would he do any better now? How could he with Jesus gone?
Yet Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. Sometimes failure makes us stronger. Peter learned so much about what he believed and who Jesus was. Peter's convictions were strengthened. Peter saw the confidence that Jesus had in him and knew he had a job to do.
When I was in school to become a speech therapist, I took clinical practicum classes. Basically, after students had completed a few core classes they were assigned clients to provide therapy for with supervision. With my first client, I was nervous and unsure, but my supervisor assured me that I had the knowledge and skills to help this child. Her confidence in me gave me courage to go and teach.
Jesus' confidence in Peter gave him the confidence he needed to preach the gospel. God's confidence in us as his creation will give us exactly what we need (wisdom, courage, faith, etc.) to serve his church today. When we are unsure of ourselves, God will give us strength.
Like my supervisor's words of affirmation, God provides us with confidence when we most need it, through the words of a friend, the words of a song, or a passage in the Bible. God has equipped us to do great things for him. He has given us confidence to encourage us. Our job is to accept his call. It may not be easy, but God will guide us, one step at a time.
Thank you for looking past our past failures and continuing to provide us with opportunities to serve you. Help us to determine which gifts you would have us use to serve you. Give us encouragement when we need it. Give us success along your time-lines and give us humility in the end.